Carolina RN to BSN Online
Conceptual Bases of Professional Nursing Practice
System Variables:  Accrediting Bodies
Part 1:  Variables Influencing Teaching and Learning

System Variables

Teacher Variables

Learner Variables

Part 2:  The Seven Steps of Planning --Plus One

Weekly Assignment 1
Evaluating Learning

Weekly Assignment 2
Analyzing Experiences



The agencies and organizations in which we work are evaluated and accredited by at least one, and often several, outside bodies. Accreditation criteria should affect teaching in our practice (as well as other aspects of practice) on a daily basis, but, whether or not this is the case, they certainly affect practice when preparing for a site visit. We're very aware of the power held by accrediting bodies, and this power definitely influences the character of practice-in this case teaching. The following example of the powerful influence exerted by accrediting bodies comes from nursing education, not clinical practice, but you have all experienced it.

Some years ago the NLN (then the only body accrediting nursing programs) revised their criteria to include one criterion specifically addressing the development of critical thinking skills. This brought about a flurry of curriculum revisions to explicitly include development of critical thinking skills. Many programs revised assignments, tests, and clinical evaluation tools to include evaluation of critical thinking skills, and began using standard tests of critical thinking as a component of overall program evaluation. Does any of this sound familiar?

Accreditation criteria can be useful to guide evaluation of teaching in our practice. You might begin by examining the criteria to see whether they measure things that you consider to be important about teaching and learning in your practice. This involves both looking at what is there and looking for what isn't there. That is, are there criteria that address aspects of teaching-learning that aren't important to you? And, are there any important aspects that aren't addressed by the accreditation criteria? Incorporating at least some accreditation criteria into ongoing evaluation of practice can both improve practice and make life easier when The Visit rolls around.

Thinking about your experience ...
  • Do you know what your accreditation criteria have to say about teaching?
  • How do accreditation criteria related to teaching shape teaching in your practice?
  • How can you work effectively with accreditation criteria regarding teaching that seem to hinder rather than facilitate teaching in your practice?


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